Residence: New Jersey
Date of Performance/Collection: April 5 2016
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Mandarin
Title: The Jersey Devil
Interviewee: Steven Miao
Situation (Location, ambience, gathering of people?): In his room at Webb tower, at USC in Los Angeles. Me and the interviewer.
Piece of Folklore:
Interviewee- “It lives in a forest. The forests what remaining forests we have. Apparently people disappear, and they get eaten by the devil. There are also sightings from time to time. Its humanoid, but the devil. And it eats people. Oh it lives in the Pine Barrens. I heard it from my friends that live around Jersey. It kills livestock and attacks humans. It looks like a kangaroo with goats head and it has bat wings. Random sightings of it randomly. It is the reason that the hockey team is called the New Jersey Devils. They are named after the devil.”
Interviewer- “Why do you like this story so much?”
Interviewee- “Well its more than a story to me, I mean it is pretty much something that I believe in, I guess it’s more than just a story to me is all I’m saying. Where I grew up people never really talked about it much, but it was just one of those things that everyone knew about. I don’t know. It was something in our sub-conscience I guess.”
Interviewer- “Do you remember where you first heard of it or from who?”
Interviewee- “No, not really. I only remember that eventually, like when I got into middle school, I knew about the Jersey Devil. I don’t remember the first time I heard about it.”
This mythical story of the Jersey Devil appears to be closely kept and remembered by the Interviewee, as he was in a defensive mindset when asked further about the story. Even though the Interviewee has not had a personal encounter with the mythical creature, he still believes deeply in the monster, or at least believes in continuing the story and telling others about it. Similar to the headhunters of Borneo, where they embraced something that at first is a little embracing, but they embrace it nonetheless simply because it sets them apart from the rest. The Interviewee cherishes the story because it marks him apart from the other people of Los Angeles, it marks him as someone from New Jersey. It makes him unique.
For another story of the Jersey Devil detailing its birth, see “The Jersey Devil” in the USC folklore archives.
Tags: Jersey Devil, Mythical, Creature